New Mason Song Celebrates University’s Past, Present and Future

Posted: April 17, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

To reflect the principles and ideas of George Mason, the man on which the university is founded, Mason President Alan Merten enlisted the help of several individuals in the Mason community to compose the first Mason song to evoke the past, present and future of the university.

Merten first approached Mark Camphouse, a faculty member of conducting and composition in the Music Department, to compose a new Mason song.

Camphouse, who felt that it would be more fitting if the song was composed by a Mason student, discussed the project with Vincent Oppido, a Mason graduate student receiving a master’s degree in composition.

The two then joined forces with Rick Davis, associate provost for undergraduate education and artistic director for the Center for the Arts, to compose and write the lyrics for the new Mason song, “Patriot Pride.”

“After Vinny and I decided to work together on the Mason song, we had to decide what would come first, the music or the lyrics,” says Davis. “In the great tradition of American song writing where the composer pens the tune first and the lyricist fits it with suitable words, Vinny came up with a great idea for a tune and I fit lyrics to it.”

Although Oppido is not new to the field of composition – he composed an orchestra piece for Leonard Slatkin, musical director of the National Symphony Orchestra – developing a tune for “Patriot Pride” proved challenging.

Patriot Pride song sheet
Click here to see a video of the Mason music ensembles singing and playing “Patriot Pride,” directed by Oppido.
Photo by Lori A. Wilson

Since Mason is a fairly young school, Oppido and Davis knew that the song couldn’t have the same feel and sound as a song for a university that is hundreds of years old. Instead, they wanted the music to have a traditional and contemporary sound to it, reflecting how Mason has grown and how the university continues to thrive today.

When trying to develop lyrics to fit Oppido’s tune, Davis considered the essence of Mason and what the Mason community celebrates about the university, including its international focus and its namesake, George Mason. For more inspiration, Davis did some research and read the entire Virginia Declaration of Rights written by Mason in 1776.

Davis included a few of Mason’s own words from the Virginia Declaration of Rights and one of his key ideas. The lyricist then considered the function of school songs and why they exist. According to Davis, the words help celebrate and cement the bond between the university and the community and evoke a sense of affection.

“I believe it’s important to have a school song because music is a universal language that brings everyone together,” says Oppido. “I hope this is a piece people will remember and hold in their hearts even after they leave Mason.”

The Mason song will be performed at the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m. in the Patriot Center.

Following are the lyrics to the new song.

Patriot Pride

George Mason, George Mason,

We honor you today,

Our Alma Mater is the source of Patriot Pride

From far and near

‘Round the world we come,

To learn side by side

Our namesake, George Mason,

Saw truths that few could see,

Declaring all of humankind is “Equally Free,”

His truths live today

In the heart and soul,

Of our University

We love our George Mason,

We’re proud of the “Green & Gold”

Those colors stay with us

Those colors grow with us

Those colors keep us Patriots,

True and Bold!

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